Trade Information - Policy Information

(1) History of the Law

Enacted in 1973, ahead of the rest of the world

Although chemical substances are very useful and have a variety of applications, the other side of the coin is that quite a few of them exhibit some hazardous properties and have a potential for an adverse effect on human health or the environment, depending on the way in which they are handled. This point became evident in the late 1960s, with the environmental pollution problem that resulted from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Until then, environmental pollution countermeasures were implemented by controlling discharges from factories and business establishments; establishing standards for the discharges of toxic substances from chimneys and drains. The environmental pollution from PCBs was a problem that emerged amid a situation in which useful chemical substances were being manufactured and used. In other words, among the chemical substances that are manufactured and imported as normal industrial chemicals, there are some that can have an adverse effect on human health via environment once they are released into the environment. The question of how to take steps to counter this problem then became an issue. The Chemical Substances Control Law was enacted in 1973 as a measure to deal with this issue.
The Chemical Substances Control Law regulates manufacture and import of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemical substances, such as PCBs. It also enables the government to conduct hazard assessment of chemical substances manufactured or imported after the enactment of the law, prior to their manufacturing or import. At that time, there were no similar statutes in the world, and Japan pioneered the introduction of a pre-manufacturing evaluation and regulation system for new chemical substances.
The law was amended in 1986 in order to be able to control manufacture and import of persistent, not- bioaccumulative but toxic chemical substances. In 2003, the law underwent another substantial revision.

pie graph of new chemical substances by use in 2002 bar graph of transition of new chemical substance notification number
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